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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

7. Gamli kanóki, 1. Harmsól, 12 [Vol. 7, 84-5]

[1-4]: Gamli’s confession is presumably a response to S. Paul’s warning in 1 Cor. XI. 26-9: quotienscumque enim manducabitis panem hunc et calicem bibetis mortem Domini adnuntiatis donec veniat itaque quicumque manducaverit panem vel biberit calicem Domini indigne reus erit corporis et sanguinis Domini probet autem se ipsum homo et sic de pane illo edat et de calice bibat qui enim manducat et bibit indigne iudicium sibi manducat et bibit non diudicans corpus ‘for as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come. Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh judgement to himself not discerning the body [of the Lord]’. The same sentiment is found elsewhere in ON-Icel. religious literature. A Christmas day sermon in HómÍsl (HómÍsl 1872, 215), for example, warns its hearers that sa es criz licama etr. Oc hans blóþ drekcr ómaclega. Hann etr sér afallz dóm oc dreckr ‘whoever eats Christ’s body and drinks his blood unworthily eats and drinks a severe judgement for himself’. The Magister of Eluc (Eluc 1989, 83) is even more explicit in his condemnation of unworthy communicants: en þa er þeir hondla holld drottens vars syndvgvm hondom ok vhreinvm hvat gera þeir þa nema crossfesta kristr ‘and when they touch our Lord’s flesh with sinful and unclean hands, what are they doing then except crucifying Christ?’


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